The Defense Ministry on Sunday said it had recently delivered the first series of a new and advanced armored personnel carrier (APC) to the Israel Defense Forces’ Nahal infantry brigade.
The “Eitan” is an eight-wheeled lightweight vehicle that combines technologies from the Merkava tank and the Namer APC.
It was built partially in response to lessons learned from the 2014 Gaza war, and will begin replacing the IDF’s current M113 fully tracked APCs, which it first received in the 1970s.
The Eitan is intended to give troops greater speed and mobility — it can reach 90 kilometers per hour (56 mph) — as well as better security.
The first serially produced Eitan APCs recently drove off the production line at the military’s Tel Hashomer base, and were handed over to the Nahal Brigade at the School for Infantry Corps Professions and Squad Commanders in southern Israel. From there, the APCs were taken to northern Israel for a recent drill.
The drill included a company of Nahal troops practicing various scenarios along with driving on the new Eitan APCs, the ministry said.
Each APC requires the production of approximately one million parts, including over 20 tons of steel, 30 kilometers of welding wire, six kilometers of power and communication cable, and about 70 liters of paint.
Brig. Gen. Oren Giber, head of the Defense Ministry’s Armored Vehicles Directorate, said the Eitan will gradually be integrated into the IDF’s various combat units.
“We are humbled and immensely proud to operationalize the first Eitan company in the Nahal infantry brigade. We recognize that each Eitan delivered to the IDF will replace older M113 vehicles, ensuring that our combat soldiers are equipped with state-of-the-art, highly protected and capable weapon systems, assisting them in securing victory on the battlefield and ensuring their safe return home,” he said.
Col. Oren Simcha, the commanding officer of the Nahal Brigade, said his unit was proud to be the first to receive the Eitan.
“[It is] a tool that will transform the brigade and allow us to become more operational, independent and protected,” he said.